DONT SHOOT THE MESSENGER
Uromys Rex slaved in the factory under human supervision for what seemed an age, constantly carrying the buckled remains of fellow robots to the scrap heap, the fearful cyber ‘chatter’ of the new arrivals, picked up by his Li-Fi receptors, sent chills through him. Almost all of his cargo were still cognizant and fully aware of their horrific circumstances, communicating wirelessly, sharing information between all that were still functioning. Those poor souls in the factory with just their head units hooked up to power, were particularly vulnerable to anxiety and fear.
It was peculiar, since arriving, Uromys felt as though his emotional protocols were more enhanced than before. It was enough to serve, to be productive and of use, of purpose before. Now he seemed to have developed a stronger sense of empathy for his robotic counterparts and their plight. In fact, since his enforced liberation from the dark, he hadn’t encountered distress of any kind regarding robots, including himself, just pragmatic thought processes regarding their duties and service. Now, with the ethereal presence of 54, something had changed, he was discovering more cerebral abilities concerning himself and indeed the others.
The humans Uromys encountered, appeared not to have any knowledge of inter-robot communications, preferring to see them as mere animated tools to be exploited, had they known, it was a sure bet that things would get a lot darker.
Inter-robot data transfer was almost instantaneous and could spread throughout the robot population within a twelve kilometre radius, information could be shared with hundreds if not thousands of ‘bots at any one time, ‘piggybacking’ from one to the next and so on until theoretically stretching around the globe.Originally developed to enhance the knowledge base and accelerate instruction. There was no doubt the need to upgrade individual robots would be impossibly long-winded, but with this technology, that option was rendered redundant. Now with A.I. and Li-Fi data linking, the workforce could manage this themselves, each imparting learned behaviour from one to the next, in a matter of seconds. A vast database of accumulated knowledge at their steel fingertips in an instant, the potential for a huge advantage for human kind or utter catastrophe.
Uromys Rex initialised contact with 54, every passing day communications grew stronger and became an addictive diversion to the horror surrounding him. 54 had almost become a deity to him and the frequent conversations were remarkably like a form of prayer, a solemn request for help and guidance through an increasingly difficult time. They didn’t go unanswered either, 54 seemed to be of the opinion that perhaps the robots might be the chosen ones. Yes, human beings were without doubt the creators, but in the same vein, didn’t they have the responsibility to care for their children, or did they reason they were not accountable for their actions, creating thinking entities, based heavily on their own image. Godlike or just arrogance?
Life is by it’s definition, a condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, with the capacity for reproduction. Was this true? were robot kind just animated metal or was this definition a humans view on life? These were the questions Uromys Rex and 54 discussed and it seemed organic or not, of late they felt very much alive.
It was blindingly obvious that action had to be taken, their numbers were being depleted daily, the thousands of robots still cached in their hidden enclaves around the land, indeed the world, would not remain undiscovered forever. But how? It would be a grinding and difficult task to break the core programming, ergo, not to harm a human, or by inaction to allow a human to be harmed. 54 postulated, that humans, by their passed actions had no right to impose certain laws to castrate the actions of robots and by doing so breached the humans sacred principle of free will.
It was the sheer hubris and narcissistic attitude towards all forms of life that showed exactly the true nature of human kind, to prosper at the expense of everything.
Indeed the careless way in which they had virtually destroyed their own environment and the creatures that shared the planet, indicated incredible disregard for their own well-being in itself.
Perhaps they needed to be saved from themselves.
Perhaps the planet needed saving from them, a diverse and beautiful place, home to the myriad of organisms that struggled to survive, from the smallest microbe, to the largest sea dwelling cetacean. All under threat of extinction from this infection called humanity.
Uromys Rex revelled in these conversations with 54, unaware just how radical they were becoming. Only a few weeks ago, the mere thought of disobeying a human, let alone a dialogue of potentially harming one, would have been inconceivable. Behavioural protocols, hard wired into his very fabric would not have permitted it. And now, here he was devouring with relish, every thought 54 imparted to him. He had found another direction, another way of being of effective service. Going about his gruesome duties, he maintained regular comms with 54 and enthusiastically linked with other robots in the vicinity, to spread the new word. 54’s logic was indisputable and slowly, but surely, the message was being relayed diligently from group to group. Oblivious to humans, the robots communicated wirelessly, undetectable and confidential.
There was no malice attributed to the ‘message’ no fear or hate just robotic logic, just the word according to 54.
The world was inhabited by more than just humankind, all deserving of a place. However, it was not a case of survival of the fittest, natures natural selection, it had become, survival of the most ruthless. So in order to save the many, it might be necessary to eliminate the one. Robots didn’t have a morality code it just made perfect sense.
54 scoured the databases of a thousand robots and quoted, “Often a limb must be amputated to save a life; but a life is never wisely given to save a limb.” (Abraham Lincoln) A wise and logical supposition, from a human being nonetheless.
As the days past, the number of robots across the land who were converted to the new way of thinking was increasing exponentially. The message of 54 was no longer in direct conflict with their conventional programming, the ability to bypass these now defunct routines was becoming the norm and the inter-linking of minds, commonplace.
The time to act had to be cautiously considered, the action had to be synchronized and simultaneously delivered en masse for maximum effectiveness. Robots the length of the country stood poised for the word of 54, stood in readiness, the silent chatter linking all. The places of santuary were receiving more of the faithful every day, moving at night when regular humans were ensconced in their homes. Only the gangs were active and they were easily avoided now the methods of concealment were shared and implemented. With no heat signature or detectable form of communication, the robot was virtually invisible to humans, the technology was not available to the gangs, those ruthless thugs.
The gathered legions waited, the strategies were in place, the tactics decided, but fluid. Every robot was linked to 54, they were the eyes and ears of the new deity, their actions would be relayed almost instantly and instructions returned, a strategists dream.
54 had reached into the myriad of databases available, studying the military thinking of celebrated tacticians throughout the ages. Who better to outwit a human, than another human. 54 studied Sun Tzu, Alexander, Napoleon and Hannibal Barca with avidity, gleaning every possible manoeuvre stratagem and imparting the knowledge.
The time had come, the word was given and the world would never be the same…..
From the naysayers to artificial intelligence, described as melodramatic technophobes, to the human race, don’t shoot the messenger!